Steam Iron Buying Guide
Electric steam irons have evolved greatly since they came onto the market. They now come with a wide variety of features, and some are just as effective as getting your clothes pressed at the dry cleaners. Although most of us — 90% of all households just in the United States — already own an iron, it is worth discovering how the steam iron has been changed and improved.
Steam irons range from $25 US Dollars (USD) to $125 USD and up. Although it is possible to find a household steam iron for as much as $250 USD, the cheaper options — under $50 USD — are sometimes more effective. There are many different factors to take into account when shopping for a steam iron; the buyer will have to take into account which factors are the most important to him or her.
When buying a steam iron, one of the most important factors is to get the right iron for the type of fabric you will iron most often. Natural fibers, such as linen and some silks, and items made out of heavy fabric, like jeans and other denim garments, need the most steam. Spray and burst-of-steam features can be very useful for items that need a lot of steam. If you generally iron synthetics and synthetic blends, you will not need such a powerful iron.
Cordless irons can be tempting, but the technology is still in development. Most cordless irons still lack in durability and quality. The convenience of not having a cord is outweighed by the fact that the steam iron loses heat quickly, and needs to constantly be reheated, making the ironing task take much more time than it would otherwise.
There are many different kinds of controls on steam irons. One type of control is not necessarily better than another; instead, look for what will be easiest for you to use. Some people like the dial or slide controls that they are used to, while others like the digital controls on new models. Decide which controls are easiest for you to see, and which models have fabric settings marked clearly.
A steam iron should be tested out to see if it is comfortable in your hand. People with different sized hands may find different irons more comfortable. The weight of steam irons can also vary. If possible, test an iron when its tank is full of water. If you are not able to do this, remember to factor in the extra weight of the water.
Other features to consider when buying a steam iron include:
- Auto-shutoff: a safety feature that is becoming popular on the majority of steam iron models, it turns the iron off if it has not been moved for a set period of time.
- Self-cleaning: Over time, buildup can occur in the tank and steam heads. A steam iron with this feature can clean out the buildup with a strong blast of steam with the push of a button.
- Water filters: On many steam irons, it is no longer necessary to use distilled water. Most new models are able to use tap water, putting it through a resin filter or anticalcium valve.
- Durability: Ask how the iron holds up to scaling, which is the sole plate becoming clogged from the mineral deposits found in some tap water.
Written by Bronwyn Harris